Hubert von Goisern / Federn
A self-described musical trouble maker of long standing, this Austrian muso exercises at least as many muscles as Schwarzenegger does as he crafts one of the nuttiest international, multi-genre mash ups you are going to come across. Taking electric blues to the lederhosen Alps and everything to everyplace else, even the gringo malcontent won't be able to fathom how this guy can channel Serge Gainsbourg and take him to the wildest places, including hoe downs. Wild stuff that never rolls off the rails or becomes precious, this is a wild sonic ride that can only exist in deep left field. Killer stuff that'll amaze your ears throughout.
Goisern travels from the Traun valley to Tennessee
For Federn (Sony) Hubert von Goisern travelled from the Traun valley to Nashville (Tennessee) and New Orleans (Louisiana), to be inspired by country and cajun, blues and dixie and spirituals. His conclusion in the song Stoansteirisch: "Drüb'n in Louisiana singans nit scheena, da kunnt ma frei moan de san von uns dahoam" ("Over in Louisiana they don't sing any better, you could easily say they came from over here). It musically harmonises splendidly: Styrians have leased brass music, in the 1920s country star Jimmy Rodgers was known as "America's Blue Yodeler", and there's no Cajun without the accordion. And no Yank will be able to imitate Goisern's scat yodelling in the blues I bin ganz alloa any time soon.
Beautiful plumage ★★★★☆
Hillbilly with yodels
Hubert von Goisern – his new album "Federn"
Guitars howl and cry, basses boom hard, as if they're the translation of beating a guilty conscience. Racy, powerful, without mercy the music hits our laxness, our cowardice, and every syllable pushes us towards a shameful admission: truth seeks asylum and we leave it standing at the door, as Hubert von Goisern writes. Snowdown – the first song on the album is dedicated to the whistle-blower. A furious start. Hubert von Goisern has never lacked political clarity in his lyrics, set in individual poetic thought processes and formulations.
But he isn't a "battle singer", he "just" takes a good look and his honesty and sense of justice give him the words to spit at grievances in the world. Now on tour with the album (in Germany, Austria and Switzerland) when he performs his 2012 number 1 hit Brenna tuats guat - his energetic, sarcastically angry reaction to the financial crisis and the following incomprehensible insouciance at further risk in global financial management - at his concerts after the blues-rock song Snowdown, he sets a conscience time signal.
The record is called Federn. In Vienna they say they "have feathers" when they mean they're "afraid". But - part 2 of the exegesis of the title - on the cover, which is drawn with a portrait photo of him, tickly feathers sprout from his tousled hair. The foreign as his own. Because Hubert von Goisern, who has always travelled the world in search of the origins of the music of a particular region and who opens it up for convergence, was researching in the USA, where "the pain is", but where a lot of music is played too: the southern states, in Nashville/Tennessee, Louisiana, New Orleans. As the proceeds of what von Goisern tracked down over there in terms of old and new, the record wants to put what there is in common in the foreground.
What von Goisern has processed in his alpine rock style can be heard, overall and in detail too the record is perfect. It flies - as the name suggests - from there to here and back. Pow, we're with the hillbilly: Schrammel drum-drum in association with the whimpers of the accordion climbing to the highest heights and counters with the magnificent energy-laden drujihaho-yodelling, performed with - von Goisern's typical - wit, it comes across as though this combination is completely natural and has always existed. It's rousing. The origin of the hillbilly is also "alluded" to: he comes from - Styria.
For a long time country music was unacceptable to the artist, he says in the enlightening editorial to the album. But fortunately he came across the greats such as Thelonious Monk (Blue Monk) and Hank Williams, whose Jambalaya he performs - with Styrian lyrics - in such a way that it's impossible, even with a preconceived aversion to the song, not to dance along spellbound with every part of your body whether it moves or not. Finger-clicking, foot-tapping, head-bobbing.
The use of lap steel and the pedal steel, played by Steve Fishell as guest, is interesting, along with the use of many other instruments such as - real von Goisern - harmonica (three at a time) and Jews' harp, but there's also dobro and theremin. A plucking and buzzing and squeezing and bumsda-stirring of the assembled instruments and - oh and then there's the voice, von Goisern himself, yodelling, and not the horn! It gives the blues best of all. The tempos vary, at times he lets it crash, at times it's soft, contemplative. The sequence of the 15 songs has bite, so that for example after a quiet song you are sometimes completely ripped from the celebrating the pleasure and you burst quite unexpectedly into the next beating musical adventure.
When it comes to the traditionals, most of them with legendary interpreters in their past, von Goisern has made them his own quite naturally. Corrina, Corrina, for example, which is called Des kann's nit sein here, becomes quite tender, rhythmically emphasized with the deep quapp-quapp, quapp-quapp of the accordion and von Goisern's voice is so clear that you never want to hear Bob Dylan's twang ever again. It is ever a guarantee of reliability, straightforwardness, sincerity, without forgetting to have fun. Joy in playing always reigns - a weak way of putting it - the way it roars, fumes, flows and whispers out of the man.
Von Goisern meets the danger of the schmaltziness of the lap steel with tightness: he doesn't fabricate any kitsch. Because - as he has been proving for 25 years - there is sincerity in this world musician. What a rare asset, what a needle in the haystack of the music business, so that as a listener one feels certain that one is not being lied to, as happens often enough with schlager wild talkers.
Von Goisern has excellent musicians at his side. The drummer Alexander Pohn, the bassist Helmut Schartlmüller and the guitarist Severin Trogbacher have been his band since 2009, jammed and composed the majority of the songs with him, as well as a few guests. The lyricist is Hubert von Goisern himself. He tells of the ups and downs in the world of emotions, the shift in feelings, of lost, uncertain, successful love, of the dreams in which desires are revealed and of how time runs away from you. You have the blues. Or the lust for life, preferably out in the natural world and - with an express warning for the opposite case - without schnapps (Schnaps). Musicians in the US southern states unfortunately won't be able to sing along with the formidable lyrics, as much as they are fitting to them too, they'd have to learn Styrian first. You don't need it so much for listening to the album, the booklet is there to help you spell it out.
Hubert von Goisern – Federn
The folklore of the Austrian Alps meets country and the blues of Louisiana and New Orleans: Hubert von Goisern found his ideas for his newest album on a trip to the United States. In his songs he reports on the state of affairs on both sides of the Atlantic.
Von Goisern will likely never shake off the label of founder of alpine rock. Although the songwriter has always been someone who has found his stimuli all around the world and not just in Styria. So this time - and to some extent as a continuation of his album Entwederundoder – country dances and yodels meet the music of the American south, fusing Cajun and country dance, Amazing Grace becomes a dialect song, Hank Williams' Jambalaya turns into the blues. He got on better with Zydeco, Cajun and the grooves of New Orleans than with the country of Nashville.
There are certainly feathers in von Goisern's hair on the album cover. But the title refers more to the Austrian dialect expression for fear. He wanted to go to where the pain lies. And so he sings of his anger at the eternal data collectors and of truth that isn't granted asylum anywhere.
Hubert von Goisern gets in touch
He's back again. After a long break, the Upper Austrian is finally letting us enjoy his new album.
It's been a long, long time. But now the sound of his voice can be heard from the local radio stations again. After his hit song Brenna tuats guat new productions were a long time coming. But now he has come up trumps again with his new album Federn.
It's rather a skill to assign Hubert von Goisern a musical category. You could probably put him under folk music with his accordion, but his rock songs make it difficult to define it as folk music. You can therefore see him as a pioneer of a new Austrian music style, that is, alpine rock. His albums sprout such variety and diversity. You'll find not just African elements, but soul and jazz influences too in his music. There's certainly no chance of getting bored listening to his music. He thrills time and time again with richly varied songs, which on his new album too, sound completely new and yet familiar.
The Upper Austrian shows us a very different side of himself on this album. Namely songs with a touch of fire and of country too. The album is heavily influenced by his trip to the USA and offers numerous new style elements and a big difference from his previous albums. However, that's not a bad thing. The 62-year-old invents new styles and new rhythms - which can only delight. To explain exactly how he's done it is practically impossible, it is almost a work of impossibility, so it's best if you listen to his new album yourself. You'll be taken on a musical adventure that you won't forget in a hurry. Austrian folk music in a balanced and elegant mix with country and blues. Who else but him would be able to combine such divergent styles in such a way that they are a pleasure for our ears.
No longer just in music
Many people will perhaps be surprised to hear that there are not just records from Mr Achleitner alias Hubert von Goisern: there's a documentary too. But you shouldn't think he made it himself. On the contrary, he is the focus of the film project. The film maker Marcus H. Rosenmüller, has made a film about our Upper Austrian star, which was released in April 2015 in German cinemas too. It's called: Brenna tuat's schon lang and is truly a very successful production from the film maker.
The tour of the year
It's no surprise that his concerts fill up and quickly sell out. His tour this year will take him through Germany and Austria, so that everyone will have the opportunity to see him up close. The best thing is to check his website for the current tour dates.
Our rating: 4.3/5
Hubert von Goisern: Federn
Hubert Achleitner, from Goisern, Austria, better known as Hubert von Goisern, is not simply one of the many people trying their hand at new folk music. He is far beyond this phase and has found his own musical expression and for many years has been combining this with all kinds of regional styles. He looks for exchange with other musicians and constantly absorbs the essence of their music into his own.
For his new album Federn Hubert von Goisern took himself off to the south of the USA and took up his musical field research there. As he has said in interviews, it wasn't exactly easy in the "motherland of capitalism". In the beacon of democracy, interest in playing music together was apparently most likely to be awakened with dollars. Nonetheless, he managed to find musicians to work with him and his tried and tested accompanying musicians to capture an album that is thoroughly surprising for the Austrian.
Who would have expected an album with Americana from Hubert von Goisern? Cajun and country sung in Austrian dialect and with pedal steel guitar in harmony with a diatonic accordion. He has arranged the pieces on the album, be they his own compositions or covers, with a great deal of flair. the contributing musicians are given enough scope to really be able to bloom. Thus develops lively and living music. His version of Jambalaya (Es ist wahr), Hank Williams' old hit, which so many other people have covered, is so stunning, that it has to be counted as one of the best versions of the piece. But there are more than just alpine folk-based pieces, there are crashing blues numbers too, which is nothing new for him nowadays.
Hubert von Goisern clearly takes a stand in his lyrics too, at which point Snowdown should be mentioned as an example, dedicated to Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden and "everyone else who has dared to day that something's not right and all those who put their freedom on the line and risk their lives".
Our conclusion: Federn is absolutely one of Hubert von Goisern's best albums, if not his hitherto best album (who knows what is yet to come). A first class disc that is fun from the first note. Perfect!
The Mississippi and the Mur-Mürz-Furche
Hubert von Goisern, rooted in traditional Austrian folk music, is deemed to be a bridge builder, blender and mixer of the traditional and the modern from different geographic latitudes and perspectives. What he has done over the past couple of decades tends to be called world music, perhaps ethno too: travelling various places, on a ship too, and absorbing and ingesting different kinds of music, both figuratively and literally. Tibet and Tyrol, the Mississippi and the alpine Mur-Mürz-Furche.
Von Goisern found fame a long time with something quite different from what he later did. Together with his band, the Alpinkatzen, von Goisern combined alpine and rock music. Koa Hiatamadl was the big hit back then and the whole was a not particularly remarkable party song: "Koa Hiatamadl mag i ned, hot koane dicken Wadl nit". For HvG, who travelled the world for a good decade before his career as a musician, the song probably served its purpose. Popularity and wallet doubtless profited from this alpine rock: Hubert Achleitner, as the musician was born, was able to turn to other musical things. Interesting things.
Since then Hubert von Goisern has made some really remarkable albums, for example the soundtrack to Schlafes Bruder, or the album Fön. It came as a surprise a while ago that the Goiserer had another hit single in Austria with the song Brenna Tuats Guat (and even on the state radio station Ö3, which largely neglects dialect music as unperturbed as it does Austrian music in general). Musically speaking, it was alpine rock again, squeezebox and electric guitar - but this time it wasn't about a shepherdess, but rather criticism of capitalism.
The USA served as the source of inspiration for his new album Federn. Zydeco, blues, country, bluegrass, the swamps of the southern states. The squeezebox opens the first song Snowdown. It's a swampy blues with distorted guitar, political throughout, as the title suggests. Showdown, Snowden... "Snowdown in China, Snowdown in Iran, Snowdown in Russia, Snowdown down in Oman", he sings. The world is on fire: "Nur ned da bei mir, nur ned da vor meiner Tür" ("Just not here, not in my backyard". "Die Wahrheit, sie suacht um Asyl / aber kriagn tuat sie's nia" (The truth seeks asylum / but never finds it").
Von Goisern channels the American music between 2/4 time, alternating bass and bluegrass (Stoansteirisch) – and light-footedly blends and homogenises his own roots with the completely different musical, temporal and political context. Accordion and lapsteels (for which Steve Fishell is responsible), Louisiana and Bad Goisern. Music is music.
At first glance Es ist wahr is a cheerful meditation on time and life: "Jambalaya, ois geht vorbei, sogar des Leben / doch bis es soweit is mecht is ma geben" ("Jambalaya, nothing passes but life / but until then we should make the most of it"). But behind it is Jambalaya (on the Bayou) by Hank Williams. Von Goisern and Williams: it goes together remarkably well. In So A Segn von Goisern then channels Amazing Grace, Wie der Wind is contemplative country rock. Neama Vü Zeit is based on the Blind Faith song Can't Find My Way Back Home: "So wia i beinand bin / find i ohne di ned hoam" ("The state I'm in, I won't find my way home without you"). There are certainly some strong ballads on Federn.
Here a blues pounder (Schnaps), there some alpine rock (Singa Gang Guat) – and in Des Kanns Ned Sein there's even a bit of Elvis about the Goiserer. Hubert von Goisern sings the finale in English and German, demonstrating almost crooner qualities in Deux Petites Melodies.
The instruments are crystal clear and organic, the slides scratch, in terms of the sound aesthetic, the production and recording is like Dylan's later albums. It has nothing to do with the mixing of folk music and pop/rock, which is struggling in the mainstream at the moment - neither ideologically, nor musically. Anyone who knows Goisern doesn't need that explaining to them.
On Federn von Goisern and band once more effortlessly bring multiple worlds together. Worlds, which at first glance don't have much in common. That is the art of Hubert von Goisern.
Hubert von Goisern regularly musically reinvents himself. The 61-year-old folk music deconstructionist went looking for new challenges - struck it rich in the southern states of the USA. America and the Alps, lapsteel guitar and accordion go together beautifully. Federn (Blanko Musik/Sony) is mightily bluesy, with country in its blood and yet is typical von Goisern. The Styrian devil of a man even compels a new facet to the well-worn Amazing Grace. Powerful!
Take 5: Federn
Hubert von Goisern is regarded as the founder of alpine rock, but is also a globetrotter who lets African and Asian elements flow into his music. There are also twenty years between his two big hits Koa Hiatamadl and Brenna tuat's guat. The Austrian still yodels so wonderfully strangely, but it's been a long time since he was confined to the mountains and homeland and the old days. The title Federn perhaps also means being adorned with borrowed plumes, because here Hubert von Goisern dedicates himself intensively to cover versions. Lyrics always written in dialect, but mixed with English and French quotations, there and individual and musically powerful, against the grain versions of the Hank Williams number Jambalaya and the spiritual Amazing Grace. He sings of women - Corinna, Corinna, most often interpreted as a western swing, becomes a melancholy blues and the folk classic Oh Susanna comes in two variations. This album is certainly very atmospheric.
Between world music and alpine rock
Hubert von Goisern presents his new album "Federn" at the Modernes on Sunday
It is somewhat of an understatement to describe Hubert von Goisern as being always on the go. The musician from the Salzkammergut, more precisely from Bad Goisern, took up the "Styrian" - the alpine variant of a diatonic button accordion - and without further ado rubbed Austria's traditional folklore up the wrong way with vehemence and fury: the slogan was "alpine rock", sometimes it could be alpine rape and Hubert Achleitner, as he is really called, can certainly yodel too. With his band, the Original Alpinkatzen, the musician celebrated considerable success in the German-speaking region, but things soon became too constricting for him musically speaking.
Now his interests lay in Asia and Africa. In Tibet he made recordings of traditional music from the Roof of the World and recorded an album with Tibetan musicians. Then he was drawn to Egypt and Tanzania. Hubert von Goisern had also previously composed the music for the film Schlafes Bruder by Joseph Vilsmaier. He remains in contact with the film director to this day and so last year von Goisern also wrote the film music for the documentary film Österreich von oben und unten.
The musician made a splash in 2007 when he sailed the Danube to its mouth with a converted ship and all sorts of musicians on board, dropping anchor at various places and giving concerts together with local groups on the ship's stage. A year later came the second part of this journey. This time they went upstream on the Danube, through the Main-Danube canal to the Rhine. The journey ultimately ended in Rotterdam. Once again concerts were given in various cities - with famous guests such as Klaus Doldinger, Konstantin Wecker or the band BAP. The musical results of the two journeys were documented on CD and DVD.
Last year director Marcus H. Rosenmüller (Wer früher stirbt, ist länger tot) filmed a documentary about the life of the multifaceted artist, who has never held back with clear political statements and who therefore often has problems in his home country. Rosenmüller's portrait pf the 62-year-old musician bears the title Brenna tuat's schon lang and alludes to his most recent chart success Brenna tuat's guat. The film music biography is in our cinemas now. But because the musician with the yodel diploma is always on the go, he is also presenting a new album.
For this he flew to Nashville, Tennessee, in the USA, to have a listen to things in the centre of country music. From it has come the CD Federn. On the cover the man is to be seen bedecked with feathers.
Hubert von Goisern has musically transferred songs with a classic country cut into Austrian dialect, getting stuck into songs by Hank Williams, the traditional Amazing Grace, or developing the blues I bin ganz alloan from a standard by Thelonious Monk. There are also some original compositions by him among the fifteen tracks. While there are some quieter numbers, overall the album rocks pretty intensely, even when it flirts with Cajun and bluegrass.
Hubert von Goisern - Federn
After the huge successes and tours with Brenna tuats guat and the subsequently announced break from the stage, this album has come along earlier than expected. There was a tour with the new songs last year, six months before they were released. You can hear the usual qualities of the artist, augmented by the pedal steel of the American Steve Fishell, who was also on the tour. A close look at the credits also reveals the surprise of the name Wolfgang Staribacher on the organ. At the same time as the album there's also the cinema film Brenna tuats schon lang about his musical creativity, bringing back memories of Sabine Kapfinger with her unique qualities and the great collaboration with HvG. This album is heartily recommended in the old style as a physical release. The design is so exceptionally good, lovingly made and full of fantasy, calling into question every download...
The Goiserer's feathers shine
Hubert von Goisern can be experienced on his new album and as
star of the documentary film "Brenna tuat's schon lang" in the cinema.
Hubert von Goisern has always been cosmopolitan and endowed with a music research gene. He mixes with alpine music with music from Africa or Tibet, or music from all over the Danube region. Now he has travelled the south of the USA. Disillusioned by Nashville's country music industry, he landed in Louisiana and New Orleans, lived with jazz, blues and Zydeco, in order to later produce 15 self-penned songs and adaptations in his home studio. "I wanted to go to where the pain was", he explained.
The result is largely not so much painful and more catchy. It almost sounds as though the Austrian is drifting on soft blues and jazz waves and the oppressive humidity of the delta has had its effect on his songwriting. You hear the dirt under the guitarist's fingernails too seldom though. With his reliable band, strengthened by US pedal steel grandmaster Steve Fishell, it indeed mostly sounds perfect, but often a bit too polished too.
Right at the beginning of the album Federn in Snowdown he serves a rich power blues and makes a statement "for all those who put their freedom on the line and risk their lives" and against all those who just sound things out, or skim off the top "drowning so slowly in their soup of data". As the singer and multi-instrumentalist so often succeeds in doing, he has also managed to combine country & Co. with the tradition of the Alps. You have to hand it to him, he has emotionally presented the the musical heart of the southern states, but a little less dial turning in the studio would perhaps have been more.
You can get up close to Goisern in the cinema at the moment in the documentary film Brenna tuats schon lang, which Marcus H. Rosenmüller has augmented with new interviews and archive material. The musician grants a look into his life and way of thinking, meets mentors, old friends, companions. And comes across as a reflective man who gives everything his all and who is deliberately extravagant, especially where his music is concerned.
Hubert von Goisern: Federn
He's had his wings clipped during his career too, but they've always grown back. This time they carried him to the southern states of the USA. And on his country music trip he found a Nashville that didn't interest him. Louisiana became his destination, Zydeco ... He came up against a lot of resistance and scepticism, although in the Cajun numbers he found what we have in our country dances and Steirers. In Stoansteirisch (Traditional) there's yodelling squeezebox and Louisiana and in the Hank Williams classic, Jambalaya On The Bayou, which becomes Es ist wahr, the Goiserer is happy with his Styrian accordion. Hubert von Goisern has always been inward-looking and so his Amazing Grace is a sentimental So a Segn: "... dass uns heit, heit a so tuat, des tuat uns guat" (that we today, today we do what feels so good). And I bin ganz alloan by Thelonious Monk carries this on. In Des kann's nit sein he yearns for Corinna, Corinna and Neama vü Zeit based on Steve Winwood's Can't Find My Way Home is full of feeling. Wonderful: Steve Fishell's input, a true master of the pedal steel guitar, who performs marvellous slides, perhaps not least thanks to his conversion to schnapps. The Goiserer has composed six songs with his group of Alexander Pohn (drums), Helmut Schartlmüller (bass) and Severin Trogbacher (guitars), the lyrics are all written by him. Schnaps creeps addictively into the ear. Am hell-lichten Tag is a mighty blues and Singa gang guat an ear worm. And he sings in the English language too ... Goisern's "moulting" bestows a powerful listening experience with Federn.
CD tip of the week: Hubert von Goisern – "Federn"
In order to understand this mixture, one must take a look at von Goisern's path through life. He has always been a restless soul, hungry for experiences in foreign lands and with foreign cultures. Whether South Africa, Canada and the Philippines at the start of his career as an artist, or Tanzania and Tibet in later years - Hubert von Goisern has always felt drawn to far off lands. But to the sounds of far off lands in particular, which he has always ably incorporated into his homeland-related alpine melodies. Wherever he is - he soaks up the local music and understands how it works. This time too, on his new album Federn, the eclecticism of his music comes to the fore. This time von Goisern delved into the music world of the southern states of America: "I'll go to where the pain is - to the southern states. For a long time country music was made me cringe, Musikantenstadl with a cowboy hat. Ring of Fire was the first country song I can remember playing. In New Orleans I followed the tracks of my old role models Muddy Waters and Louis Armstrong, diving into a world of blues, jazz and Zydeco, impressed by the unbelievable virtuosity of all the musicians."
Ring of Fire was the beginning, the new album is the logical development. All 15 songs contain elements of blues, jazz or country. Some of them are von Goisern's interpretations of familiar classics. Amazing Grace becomes So a Segen. Guitar and accordion in perfect harmony - paired with profound lyrics written by von Goisern. Styrian folklore and country music also encounter one another in Stoansteirisch. The other successful combination comes from the liaison between rhythm and blues and alpine rock, as the songs Es ist wahr or I kann wieder fliagn prove beyond doubt. Among von Goisern's successful interpretations of familiar classics is the song Neama vü Zeit, goes back to Blind Faith's hit Can't Find My Way Home. Von Goisern has had the piece in his repertoire for a long time - in his version he adds steel guitar to the melody and couples it with a dialect version of the original lyrics. As only Hubert von Goisern can do.
Where there's the blues, the ballad is the optimum song form to convey emotions. As a matter of fact there are more ballads on the record than rhythmic dance numbers. But at no point does von Goisern get lost in the foreignness of the sounds, he remains true to himself right to the end, repeatedly letting yodelling and the accordion be heard. Two worlds are not colliding, they're expanding to become an absolute symbiosis. Until the Alps and the Mississippi merge.
CD review: "Federn"
For Federn Hubert von Goisern has expanded his both unbelievably rousing and delicately touching way of playing alpine folk music even further than usual to include blues and country trace elements. And has recorded a great, lively and touching album with mind and soul.
Tips: the starter Snowdown, the heavy blues Am hell-lichten Tag, the Hank Williams cover Es is wahr and the closing anthem Deux Petites Melodies. Fine stuff!
OÖN rating: ★★★★★☆
The Goiserer with the blue feathers
Hubert von Goisern really has the blues, lets the pedal steel guitar sing and leads together what only he can combine. Someone this confident doesn't need any stuffy lederhosen attitude.
Nearly four years after the first (and late) number one hit of his career (Brenna tuat's guat – the song was even bestowed with the grace of the English-obsessed radio station Ö3, which played it non-stop) he is back again – the restless one, unbowing, unmoorable, the unmistakeable, the guy who falls between all metaphorical stools, who doesn't care about anyone. With Federn Hubert von Goisern presents a new studio album and brings proper blues into the room. Once more it's alpine world music, but this time with southern state flair: juchitzer alongside 12 bar blues, yodels next to powerful rock riffs, melancholy with joie de vivre.
If you can't quite deal with the not exactly Museumsquartier style cover image, the music makes you sit up and listen. He still has it, even in his sixties and in the third decade of his career. HvG fetched Steve Fishell from New Orleans in order to give his music a new American taste. The pedal steel guitar sings mellow sounds to the typical songs, the accordion joins in as if the two have belonged together for ever. The blues is taken to the alpine pasture, as if there are more than a few blue alpine hut visitor or gentians. Country is assigned to the Salzkammergut, Cajun becomes a part of the hearty fare – and the best thing about it: apart from a few moments, everything works and almost nothing sounds clichéd. Everything that counts here is the music, HvG naturally doesn't see much importance in singing anthem lyrics the way they were learned at school.
There are some filet pieces on this ample work with 15 tracks: Snowdown has lyrics with unusually blusteringly political and musically abrasive thoughts about what the truth can trigger and what is sold to us as the truth in the present day. Alle 100 Jahr is the most likely hit, Wie der Wind is one of those HvG ballads that flows weightlessly, but never shallowly. With Stoansteirisch he shows the singing lederhosen from Graz how one can be rustic without any lederhosen attitude. With Neama vü Zeit HvG takes on two of his favourite subjects, lovesickness and transience. The new material was tried out on stage last year and found to be suitable by the faithful fan base.
HvG successfully followed one his patented paths, but gives himself another surprise. The musician wasn't particularly a fan of the USA and its political DNA. Nonetheless – or perhaps precisely because of that he wanted to, as he said himself, put a piece of its culture in his rucksack and make something from it. That is what he has done, with the excellent musicians of recent years alongside him, almost flawlessly. These "feathers" or plumes are only borrowed at first glance – they are once again his very own.
Hubert tells of a time in which he clearly had to moult in order to rise like a phoenix from the ashes in a dazzling new outfit and to find the light again with his usual high standards and profound lyrics. He lets us share in a journey to the American world of country, which underscores the usual Goisern sound, at times slow and quiet, then loud and powerful and bang up to date seeks asylum for the truth with the song Snowdown.
"Where the pain is", is where Hubert von Goisern has been on a musical search
- tomorrow (Friday) his American alpine album "Federn" is released
The USA has mutated into a land of endless impossibilities, thinks world music pioneer Hubert von Goisern. And wanting to understand he travels to "where the pain is", to the centre of conservatism, to the southern states, to Nashville, to New Orleans. And just the same as Hubert Achleitner from Bad Goisern, now 62 years old, previously absorbed rock, rap, the music of Tanzania and Tibet, now he falls in love with country music, the blues, jazz, steel guitar. And digests it. And puts it back out into the world as his own new thing. Tomorrow, on Friday 8th May, the chief of musical fusion will reveal the result: 15 covers and self-composed songs on the album Federn. And it sounds like this:
Snowdown: Edward Snowden and showdown, citizen surveillance and wars become one in this wordplay and protest song, in which the alpine 6/8 accordion ostinato rhythm is cut by the distorted blues guitar. Hammond organ sound, rock solo, background singing, Goisern's powerful body. Über-opulant in sound and content. A strong piece.
Stoansteirisch: Mother of God, what is this? Country schlager in 4/4 time, Truck Stop couldn't have done it any better. The most beautiful yodel no longer helps.
Es is wahr: The steel guitar sings sweetly, the happy melody of Hank Williams' Jambalaya sounds sweet. Mr Goisern, you're punching below your weight.
So a Segen: Amazing Grace on the accordion, full of dignity. And the steel guitar sings along very sweetly. Written to be the penultimate encore on the open air tour?
Wie der Wind: The acoustic ballad for cuddling the night after the open air concert.
Am hell-lichten Tag: Cowboys in the midday heat, the dobro guitar clashes with the harmonica. High noon. A song like a dusty lizard, dirty and formidable.
Schnaps: Blues rock, speech song, alcohol, all the best heavenwards to Joe Cocker!
I bin ganz alloan: Things get jazzy. Thelonious Monk's Blue Monk transferred to the alpine pasture. Cool.
Alle 100 Jahr: Alpine rock like in Goisern's early years, with a reggae streak.
Des kann's nit sein: Oh, Corinna, where have you gone? Bluesily beautiful, enough to make you weep.
Neama vü Zeit: A prayer. Probably a prayer. Wow.
I kann wieder fliagn: Alpine blues in slow motion. Anthemic.
Mir hat träumt: Oh Susanna, until you return, I'll sing this folk song on the piano. For you.
Singa gang guat: Rock 'n' Roll! Distorted electric guitar, funk, hard rock, yodelling, accordion solo, juchizer. The Goiserer! Susanna will be back soon, it's clear.
Deux petites melodies: Piano ballad in English and German, with a touch of My Way. The very last encore for the open air tour.
Alpine rocker in search of meaning
The documentary Hubert von Goisern - Brenna tuat's schon lang came to our cinemas on 23rd April; a concisely outlined portrait of one of the most enigmatic personalities of the Austrian music landscape, filmed by Marcus H. Rosenmüller (Wer früher stirbt, ist länger tot). Now von Goisern is adding his next longplayer, which he has baptised Federn. And you hear straightaway that the tradition of re-interpreting world hits is still alive: while in 1994 Georgia was turned into Goisern, now Amazing Grace is transformed into So a Segen: Styrian accordion, steel guitar and warm-toned singing create a feeling of security. The alpine rocker has become noticeably calmer, even if wilder songs such as Singa gang guat and Schnaps counter this: the softer, quieter, contemplative sounds predominate. Take I bin ganz alloan, a pure alpine blues about the difficulty of life, which is then exceeded in gloom by the deeply intoned Des kanns nit sein. Neama vü Zeit - always thoughtful, lyrically lost, searching - then sounds distinctly brighter. While Wie der Wind marks the change in direction, breaking new ground of positive feelings - in slow motion, mind you: "Wir dreh'n uns rund ums uns herum, Du und ich / Wir tanzen durch die Zeit, bis in all Ewigkeit" ("We spin around and around, you and I / We dance through time, into eternity") - a fairytale profession of love. To be honest we would have liked a little more joie de vivre from the Goiserer. We prefer genuine melancholy to feigned cheerfulness though.
New on CD
Hubert von Goisern has travelled to Nashville and New Orleans. His forays through the archives of musicians such as Hank Williams and David Allen Coe have beautifully fuelled the album Federn (out 8th May). Blues, Cajun, Zydeco provide the flavour, although the dialect singer doesn't forget his alpine roots. 15 earthy, raging and quiet songs make you prick up your ears and are, like von Goisern himself: strong characters.
"Federn": New album from Hubert von Goisern
Hubert von Goisern's musical travel report "Federn" with a rich mix
of country, blues and Zydeco is released on 8th May.
Where hasn't Hubert von Goisern travelled! Who will be surprised to hear that in his break in October 2012 he set off in an aeroplane again. Not to Greenland, Paraguay or to Micronesian Matuketuke, but quite banally to the USA. To where it hurts, namely the southern states. The musical travel report is called Federn and is released on 8th May.
The opener Snowdown comes over as a dense blues rocker, a homage to the whistle-blowers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning ("the truth seeks asylum"). The accompanying and shyly used accordion at doesn't even attempt to play in the foreground of this track with its powerfully assertive guitar riffs. Stoansteirisch, a Zydeco in alpine shades, contrasts Styria and Louisiana: "But I have such a hard time with their lederhosen music / over in Louisiana they don't sing any better".
The experienced remoulder HvG adorns himself with borrowed plumes many times: Amazing Grace is called So a Segen and met with unexpected resistance from music colleagues at a jam session in the southern states. Des kann's nit sein, (This can't be) von Goisern likely thought to himself and then used that title to give a facelift to the 100-year-old discord Corrina, Corrina, which artists such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton and Wolfgang Ambros have already given a go.
Country icon Hank Williams' indestructible Jambalaya On The Bayou becomes Es is wahr as a kind of beer tent schunkler in typical "Goisern" sound, although country music was something that "for a long time made him shudder, Musikantenstadl with a cowboy hat, musical Jehovah's Witnesses and reality in notes", as he writes in the CD booklet. I bin ganz alloan turns out to be a smooth homage to Blue Monk written by bebop king Thelonious Monk, in Steve Winwood's pearl Can't Find My Way Home (Neama vü Zeit) the search for the way home becomes a problem of time. The traditional Oh Susanna is structured as a two-parter: Mir hat träumt (Prolog) as a super soft piano ballad, Singa gang guat with proper drive from musicians running amok - shades of Brenna tuat's guat!
The centrepiece of the record, almost the musical proof of residency for "HvG", is Am hell-lichten Tag, a mammoth blues with electrifying pedal steel interludes from Steve Fishell, in which even former ski jumper Thomas Morgenstern is mentioned ("I feel as though I've torn down a star placed on a hill in the sky by Morgi").
As if von Goisern had seen it coming: by the end of song number six you have the longing for a amber-coloured high percentage alcoholic beverage, the kind aged in oak barrels for decades. Is it chance that the seventh composition is called Schnaps? The aforementioned Fishell can probably sing a song about the home-made kind, he had quite a ruthless introduction to the devil according to Goisern custom. And finally a little premiere: although the song title gives no indication, Deux petites melodies is von Goisern's first mainly English composition.
The widespread use of Fishell's pedal steel sound is excellent, a reunion with former Goisern colleagues, such as Maria Moling, Burkhard Frauenlob and the very first duet partner Wolfgang Staribacher is reason for joy. All of the lyrics are written by von Goisern, the melodies of six songs were composed by him and his three man band, who have now worked with him four times. Only the final number is solo number in terms of melody and lyrics.
And he's happy to take risks: his current tour started last November and the setlist consisted mainly of songs from Federn (Blanko Musik/Sony), an album that wasn't even finished and is only being released now, six months later. The artistic risk paid off - the usual apprehension moves over to make room for anticipation and that's known to be the best thing.
The blues echoes in the Alps
For fans of Hubert von Goisern there's a great deal to celebrate coming up: the new studio album Federn is out on 8th May, the accompanying tour will bring the musician to the Kapitelplatz in Salzburg at the end of June. To get you in the mood, a film documentary open in Das Kino on 25th April.
Hubert von Goisern is an unconventional musician through and through. So the last thing he wants to do is put himself at the mercy of the restraints of the music business. He recently took a two year break in which he travelled to the southern states of the USA a few times. Because that's all him too: setting off on journeys to discover something new. The music of New Orleans & Co. thus echoes in his 10th studio album Federn, which will be released on 8th May. Pedal steel, Cajun, electric guitar and accordion - the world musician so strongly rooted in the alpine leads the instruments and rhythms of this world together with a feather-light touch. The fact that Hubert von Goisern and his music are difficult to place in conventional categories has been true all through his 25 year career. He is celebrated as an innovator of folk music, alpine rocker and a chart-topper, tells it as it is in his socio-critical lyrics and is thrilled by unusual concert formats, from a tavern tour to a concert trip on the Danube.
Open Air in Salzburg
In his new film documentary Brenna tuat's schon lang the Bavarian director Marcus H. Rosenmüller (Wer früher stirbt, ist länger tot) investigates the artistic and personal development of Hubert von Goisern. For this he includes some rarely seen archive footage. He also interviews the artist and speaks to people who have been part of his life along the way. Hubert von Goisern will be guest at the premiere on 25th April at Das Kino. On 28th June he'll show live for what he still burns, when he and his accompanying band fuse bluegrass, country and the alpine at the Kapitelplatz.
Musikwelt: Hubert von Goisern - Federn
There's still another month to go, before Hubert von Goisern's new CD is released, but Musikwelt on SR 2 KulturRadio has two tracks for you right now.
Federn, is the name of the album and Federn is the combination of the southern state music from the USA with Hubert von Goisern's alpine rock. Federn is von Goisern's search in the worlds of Cajun, country and bluegrass music, it is a view from the Alps down to New Orleans. The accordion sounds like a perfect blend of alpine folk music and fun-loving southern feeling, you hear Amazing Grace as a slow Creole blues and you hear that the blues can take Austrian twists too and you hear bluegrass in Austrian dialect. Goisern changes between English, American, German and his beloved alpine element. At the end of April a documentary film about Hubert von Goisern will hit the big screen with the title Brenna tuat's schon lang.